Kate Middleton was first thrust into the spotlight back in 2002, when it was reported that she was dating fellow university student, Prince William. Fast forward fifteen years and the Duchess of Cambridge attracts just as much media attention as she did back in the early noughties - if not more. Whether it is for her inimitable sartorial taste or her Princess Diana style approach to charity work or - or simply the world's ongoing obsession with her hair, sigh - Kate continues to fascinate the nation. But how much do you actually know about the Duchess of Cambridge? From her family background to her university days to motherhood and royal life, we've rounded up everything you could ever need to know about Kate Middleton below...
What is Kate Middleton’s Date Of Birth?
Catherine Middleton was born on 9 January 1982 to parents Carole and Michael Middleton at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, meaning that she is now 36 years of age.
The Duchess of Cambridge was christened at St Andrew’s Church in Berkshire on 20 June 1982. She is the eldest of three children, with two younger siblings named James and Philippa (Pippa).
Where Did Kate Go To School?
During the period May 1984 to September 1986, the Middleton family lived in Amnam, Jordan as Kate’s father Michael worked for British Airways. Therefore, Kate attended an English speaking nursery.
When the family returned to Berkshire in 1986, four-year-old Kate attended St Andrew’s School. She then went on to enrol at Malborough College, a boarding school in Wiltshire. It's thought that gained As in both Maths and Art at A Level, and a B in English. The future duchess then studied History of Art at St Andrew’s University until 2005.
Kate is renowned for her sartorial taste therefore it’s hardly surprising to learn that she once worked within the fashion industry. In November 2006, the duchess joined Jigsaw as an Accessories Buyer, where she worked part time for a year. She also worked until 2011 at her parent’s business, Party Pieces.
Sister Pippa also worked at the company following her graduation from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature. Kate was responsible for catalogue design, marketing and photography.
Prince William And Kate Middleton's Relationship
Though it's hard to find a definitive timeline of Kate's relationship with Prince William, we know that Kate first met William back in 2001, when the couple were both studying at the University of St Andrews (Kate for a degree in History of Art, William for a degree in Geography). The pair moved into a student house together during their second year, and are thought to have started dating a year later, though it was never publicly confirmed.
It was reported in April 2007 that Kate and William had separated during a holiday in Zermatt, Switzerland, with the intense media interest in their relationship assumed to be a major factor. The pair soon made up, however, as Kate was photographed at the Concert for Diana in July of the same year, a few rows from William (subtle, guys).
The following year, Kate attended the RAF ceremony in which William was presented with his 'wings' (confirming him as a qualified pilot) and two years later the couple moved in together in Anglesey, close to William's RAF base.
Prince William proposed to Kate in October 2010 during a ten-day trip in Kenya. The engagement was officially announced by Clarence House on 16 November.
Kate Middleton's Engagement Ring
Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with his late mother Princess Diana's engagement ring.
The Ceylon sapphire ring was designed by Garrard & Co and features 14 solitaire diamonds which surround the twelve carat centre stone. The ring is set in 18 carat white gold. In the press conference that followed William and Kate's engagement announcement, the Prince explained that giving his fiancée his mother's ring was a way of keeping Diana's memory alive. 'She’s not going to be around to share in any of the fun and excitement of it, so this is my way of keeping her sort of close to it,’ he said. Sob.
This isn't the only sentimental piece of jewellery which William has given to his wife. Kate's ring collection features a platinum eternity band, thought to be a present from her husband to mark the arrival of their first child, and a Victorian rose gold band which dates back to their university years, set with pearls and garnets (William and Kate's birthstones).
The Royal Wedding
The couple married on 29 April 2011 in Westminster Abbey. The event was declared a public holiday in the United Kingdom to celebrate.
It is thought that approximately 300 million people across the globe tuned in to watch the nuptials take place.
Kate's Wedding Dress
Royal wedding dresses have the power to change bridal trends around the world: just look at how Princess Diana's flouncy Emanuel gown set the agenda for Eighties brides. As the royal wedding loomed, media speculation about which designer Kate would choose on the big day grew to fever pitch. It wasn't until Kate stepped out of the wedding car that it was revealed that Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen, had designed the gown.
Kate's wedding dress was made from ivory satin with long lace sleeves and floral motifs, which were cut from machine-made lace then appliqued onto silk net. Burton's design received global acclaim, and was exhibited at Buckingham Palace during the summer of 2011. Designer Vera Wang said: "Diana's dress had a sense of innocence, whimsy, almost storybook romance. In contrast Catherine's gown was about way more than simply the dress. Sarah Burton channelled a new take on classicism for a modern-day bride who will one day be Queen."
While the gown also gained the approval of fellow designer Karl Lagerfeld as he told France 2 Television: "The dress is classic and goes very well in the Westminster decor. "It almost reminds me of [Queen] Elizabeth's wedding, the royal weddings in the 1950's. The proportion of the train is good. The lace is very pretty. I like the veil a lot."
According to the Daily Mail, the duchess was also rumoured to have done her own make-up for the big day after taking private lessons from London-based make-up artist Arabella Preston.
Kate Middleton And Prince William's Children
Kensington Palace announced that Kate Middleton was expecting her first child back on December 3 2012. The news was declared before the duchess reached the 12-week mark as she was rushed to hospital after suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum.
She gave birth to a son on 22 July 2013 at 4.24 pm. The same easel that announced Prince William's birth back in 1982 was used to announce the arrival of their first child. The couple named their son, George Alexander Louis. Prince George is third in line to the throne.
On September 8 2014, Clarence House announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting their second child. Again, the couple declared the news early due to Kate suffering from morning sickness for a second time.
The duchess gave birth to a daughter on 2 May 2015 at St Mary's hospital, where both Prince William and his son George were also born. The couple named their newborn daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, in tribute to her late grandmother Princess Diana and her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
And Princess Charlotte's birth undoubtedly marked a monumentous change in royal history. Soon after the Prince William and Kate Middleton wed, the 'Succession to the Crown Act' was altered, meaning that princes no longer take precedence over their sisters. She is now fourth behind her elder brother, Prince George.
In September 2017, the palace announced that Kate was pregnant with her third child, revealing that she would have to cancel a handful of engagement due to hyperemesis gravidarum. On 23rd April 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed Prince Louis Arthur Charles, who, like his elder siblings, was born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital.
Kate At Pippa Middleton's Wedding
After her younger sister took on bridesmaid duties at the royal wedding, Kate Middleton was of course on the scene when Pippa tied the knot with James Matthews on 22nd May, 2017. Kate was not a bridesmaid however, as she didn't wish to distract any attention from her younger sister on her big day (plus, it's traditional for bridesmaids to be unmarried themselves). Instead, she served as an unofficial maid of honour at the ceremony, helping keep the unruly young bridal party (which included Prince George and Princess Charlotte) in check. Kate called upon her go-to designer, Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, for her wedding outfit: a dusty pink gown with capped sleeves and a subtle peplum detail).
But Kate made sure to gave sister Pippa a memorable wedding gift. The Duchess of Cambridge sketched a drawing of St Marks' Church in Englefield, which was printed on the front of the guests' order of service booklets.
Though Kate still reportedly frequents Richard Ward's Chelsea salon for colour, the woman tasked with tending to the Duchess's glossy chestnut lengths on the regular is Amanda Cook Tucker. She has a long history with the royals, having cut William and Harry's hair when they were youngsters, and has worked with Kate since 2012, when she joined her on the royal tour of South East Asia. She cuts and styles the Duchess's hair at Kensington Palace, and has accompanied the Cambridges to Canada and Scandinavia. It seems that she's practically one of the family: she was among the first people to meet each of Kate's three children (gotta get that Lindo Wing blow-dry perfect...) and was even introduced to Prince George ahead of his grandparents Michael and Carole Middleton.
Kate Middleton's Style
Where would we begin with Kate Middleton's best fashion moments? Perhaps with her impeccable red carpet style: her sequinned Jenny Packham gown, or the off-the-shoulder McQueen style she wore to the 2017 BAFTA ceremony? Maybe a simple shift dress, or one of her many colourful coat dresses? Or perhaps the blue Issa wrap dress worn for her engagement announcement, the one that's since been reissued in a range of colours and as part of numerous brand collaborations. There's no denying the sartorial influence that the Duchess of Cambridge possesses. Dubbed the 'Kate Effect', her royal wardrobe has inspired cult items to sell out within minutes, whether they are from high street brands (the Duchess tends to favour LK Bennett, Zara and Reiss) or higher end labels such as Mulberry or Self Portrait. Her influence on fashion even led one brand in particular into financial trouble following an influx of pre-orders.
The Duchess of Cambridge is also renowned for repeating her outfits, a sartorial trick Princess Diana once played. Indeed, it seems that the Duchess often pays sartorial homage to the Princess of Wales, often referencing some of her most iconic outfits and frequently donning one of Diana's most cherished brands, Catherine Walker.
Kate has even worn some of the late Princess of Wales' accessories including the iconic 'Cambridge Lover's Knot' tiara. The 19-tiered diamond crown was loaned to Princess Diana by the Queen as a wedding gift back in 1981, and though she chose not to wear it on her wedding day (opting instead for the Spencer Tiara in a nod to her family), it become one of her favourite pieces. Kate has since donned the glittery piece for many royal occasions (she is Duchess of Cambridge, after all).
Take a look back at Kate's greatest sartorial moments below:
When Kate and William announced their engagement in 2010, Kate wore a sapphire blue Issa dress.